Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo is facing a huge £97,000-a-week pay cut following the club’s Brighton defeat on Saturday. The Red Devils have no chance of qualifying for the Champions League following their startling defeat.
Ronaldo was seen smiling in disbelief on Saturday as United were torn to shreds by Brighton and he might have been thinking about the eyewatering amount of cash he will lose as a result. The Red Devils were thrashed 4-0 at the Amex Stadium at the weekend.
That means that it is now mathematically impossible for them to reach the top four after Arsenal beat Leeds United. United are now eight points off a Champions League spot with just one game left.
It means that a year in the Europa League – or Europa Conference League if disaster strikes again – is now on the cards. After signing Ronaldo last summer and finishing second the season before, this was not in the script.
And that would have been his thinking as well when he signed a contract that meant that if United fail to qualify for the Champions League, the players take a financial hit. The club structure their contracts to reflect the revenue earned from playing in Europe.
The money earned from participating in the Champions League is reimbursed to the players but now with that up in smoke, it could see wage reductions of up to 25 per cent. Ronaldo is the top earner at Old Trafford on a basic wage of £385,000-a-week.
Under the current structure, that will see the Portugal international drop-down to £288,000-a-week – a decrease of £85,000. That would be his lowest contract since when he first joined Real Madrid in 2009.
David de Gea, United’s second-highest earner, would see his pay cut to around £281,000-a-week while Paul Pogba, also on a huge contract, will likely leave at the end of the season when his deal comes to an end. With Erik ten Hag set to join, the only positive is that the wage bill has been significantly lightened.
However, there is no denying that this has been a disastrous campaign from the start and the arrival as Ralf Rangnick as interim manager has done little to arrest the steep decline that has happened. It has left the club light years behind Liverpool and Manchester City, while the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham are even peeling away.